Missouri State Bears football
2024 Missouri State Bears football team
First season1909; 115 years ago
Head coachRyan Beard
1st season, 4–7 (.364)
StadiumRobert W. Plaster Stadium[1]
(capacity: 17,500)
LocationSpringfield, Missouri, U.S.
NCAA divisionI FCS
(FBS in 2025)
ConferenceMissouri Valley
(CUSA in 2025)
Past conferencesIndependent (1909–1923)
MIAA (1924–1980)
Mid-Continent (1981–1984)
All-time record492–532–39[2] (.481)
Playoff appearances5
Playoff record1–4
Conference titles10
Consensus All-Americans50 Associated Press[3]
ColorsMaroon and white[4]
Fight songThe Scotsman
Marching bandThe Pride

The Missouri State Bears football program is the college football team that represents Missouri State University located in Springfield, Missouri, United States. Missouri State competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The program is in the two-year transition up to the FBS subdivision; it will join Conference USA in 2025 and become a full FBS member in 2026.[5]

The school was known as Southwest Missouri State until 2005 when they changed the name to Missouri State. Missouri State's first football team was fielded in 1909 and the first coach in program history was Walter Langston who went 4–2 in his only season as head coach. Prior to 1923, the team competed as an Independent. From 1923 to 1980, Missouri State were members of the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Association (now Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association), of which Missouri State was a founding member. During that time the Bears were classified in the NCAA College Division from 1958 to 1972. From 1973 to 1980 the Bears played in NCAA Division II. Missouri State moved up to the Association of Mid-Continent Universities in time for the 1981 season, which was their first season in NCAA Division I-AA. In 1985, the Bears became a founding member of the Gateway Football Conference which later became the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008.

Missouri State has an all-time record of 492–532–39 and have won 10 conference championships. They won their most recent conference championship in 2020. Missouri State was ranked second in the country for 3 weeks from October 15 to 29, 1990. This is still the highest ranking in school history.[2] The team plays its home games at the 17,500-seat Robert W. Plaster Stadium which has been its home since 1941. The Bears have had 22 head coaches in their history, including their current head coach Ryan Beard.


See also: List of Missouri State Bears football seasons


Conference memberships

†Founding member of the conference

Head coaches

Since 1909, the Missouri State Bears have had 22 different head coaches. The first coach in program history was Walter Langston who coached the team for one year. Arthur Briggs is the longest tenured head coach with two non consecutive runs as head coach. He coached the Bears for 20 seasons in total. The current coach is Ryan Beard who was hired on December 16, 2022.[6] There was no team for the 1913 season. Due to World War II, Missouri State did not field a team for the 1943–1944 seasons.[2]

Tenure Coach Record Win percentage
1909 Walter Langston 4–2 .667
1910–1911 Corliss Buchanan 2–10 .167
1912–1917 Arthur W. Briggs 15–9–2 .615
1918 Paul Andrews 1–2 .333
1919–1933 Arthur W. Briggs 61–50–8 .546
1934–1937 A. J. McDonald 5–22–5 .234
1938–1946 Red Blair 38–21–6 .631
1947–1948 Tommy O'Boyle 16–4–1 .786
1949–1952 Fred Thomsen 19–17–4 .525
1953–1954 Bill Dellastatious 5–12 .294
1955 Harold "Tuffy" Stratton 2–6–1 .278
1956–1960 Aldo Sebben 17–27–1 .389
1961–1964 Orville Pottenger 24–12–2 .658
1965–1968 Jim Mentis 20–21 .488
1969–1975 Don Cross 23–45–3 .345
1976–1985 Rich Johanningmeier 58–44–5 .565
1986–1994 Jesse Branch 55–44–1 .555
1995–1998 Del Miller 21–23 .477
1999–2005 Randy Ball 34–42 .447
2006–2014 Terry Allen 37–64 .366
2015–2019 Dave Steckel 13–42 .236
2020–2022 Bobby Petrino 18–15 .545
2023–present Ryan Beard 4–7 .364
Total 492–532–39 .481


Plaster Stadium

Missouri State plays all home games at Plaster Stadium, which has been their home since 1941. From its opening in 1941 to 1991 the stadium was known as Briggs Stadium. The stadium currently seats 17,500 people. It has undergone several major renovations in 1991 and, most recently, in 2014. After the 1991 renovation which added an upper deck on the west side and a row of sky-boxes and press box, the stadium was renamed in honor of Robert W. Plaster who provided the major gift for the project. The stadium was updated in 2008 with a new video board behind the south end zone. The 2014 renovation made significant changes to the east side of the stadium and the playing surface. The track was removed and the East side was completely rebuilt. The stadium record attendance is 18,386 which was at the 2014 home opener versus North Dakota. Plaster Stadium is the fourth-largest stadium in the conference and the second-largest college football specific venue in Missouri.

Largest crowds

Rank Date Attendance Opponent Result
1 September 13, 2014 18,386 North Dakota W, 38–0
2 September 12, 2017 17,835 Chadron State W, 21–13
3 October 28, 1997 15,672 Pittsburg State L, 8–9
4 November 2, 1996 15,878 Western Illinois L, 17–23
5 September 9, 2000 15,647 Missouri Southern W, 48–3

Indoor practice facility

In July 2018, it was reported that Missouri State was undergoing the process of securing funding to build an indoor practice facility. In a phone interview with the Springfield News-Leader, athletic director Kyle Moats talked at length about the facility. Missouri State would build the indoor facility entirely through private donations to the athletic department. The facility was to be built on the existing ROTC and band practice field. The school's athletic director Kyle Moats said "From a recruiting standpoint, others in the conference have one," Moats said. "We need to at least try and put people on equal bases." He also was quoted that the facility would be a part of their plan to continually upgrade team's facilities. The indoor facility would also be shared by some of the other athletic programs at Missouri State.[7] In November 2019, athletic director Kyle Moats gave an update to "The Standard", the Missouri State student newspaper. He said the athletic department wasn't able to achieve the funding they needed to build the facility as some other programs became more important to address first. He said they had decided to use a more cost efficient approach and decided to build a dome over Betty and Bobby Allison North Stadium instead, to save the department over $10-$15 million. Moats said that the facility would be used by the club lacrosse team, football, soccer, track and field, baseball and softball. In the interview Moats said "We wouldn't be gaining any traction, we'd just be catching up," and "We're not trying to have the Taj Mahal, just an indoor facility."[8] As of October 2021, there hasn't been anymore news on the facility.

South end zone facility

In late October 2021, Missouri State announced plans to build a facility in the south end zone of Plaster Stadium. The facility would house the team locker room, meeting rooms, coaches offices, and club seating. A new and upgraded video board would be added on top of the building as well. The estimated cost of the facility would be around $20 million. "We want to try to improve our position and be a contender in FCS football and be a contender for a national championship," Athletic Director Kyle Moats said.[9]

Honored jerseys

Missouri State has retired four jerseys which are memorialized over the student section of the stadium's East side, but the numbers are still available and can be chosen by future players.[10]

No. Player Pos. Career Ref.
1 DeAndre Smith QB 1987–1990 [11]
27 Ray Haley RB 1947–1951 [11]
71 Rich Johanningmeier T [n1 1] 1960–1963 [11]
C Arthur W. Briggs Coach 1912–1933 [11]
  1. ^ Also served as head coach (1976–1985).


Conference championships

Missouri State have won ten conference championships in their history. The Bears won 7 championships in the MIAA, 2 championships in the Gateway, and one in the Missouri Valley. The first conference championship was won in 1928 under coach Arthur Briggs. Jesse Branch is the only coach to win multiple conference championships. The 1928, 1990, 2020 championships were shared titles.[12] The Bears won their most recent conference championship in 2020, when they shared the conference title with North Dakota and South Dakota State. This title ended the 30 year conference championship drought.

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1928† Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Arthur Briggs 7–1–1 3–0–1
1940 Red Blair 10–0 5–0
1948† Tommy O'Boyle 9–2 4–1
1951 Fred Thomsen 6–3–1 4–0–1
1963 Orville Pottenger 9–1 5–0
1966 Jim Mentis 7–4 5–0
1978 Rich Johanningmeier 8–3 6–0
1989 Gateway Football Conference Jesse Branch 12–1 9–0
1990† Jesse Branch 8–3 6–2
2020 Missouri Valley Football Conference Bobby Petrino 5–5 5–1
Total Conference Championships: 10
† Denotes co-champions

Postseason appearances

Division I-AA/FCS playoffs

Missouri State has appeared in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs four times. Under head coach Jesse Branch, the Bears made two straight trips in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 they drew a first round matchup with Maine. Missouri State won 38–35 and advanced to play Stephen F. Austin in the quarterfinals where they lost 55–25. Missouri State made it to the playoffs again in the 1990 season. They played at home against Idaho and lost 41–35. Bobby Petrino led the Bears to their third playoff appearance in 2020 and the team lost at North Dakota 44–10. Missouri State made their fourth playoff appearance in 2021 and lost to UT Martin 32–31. All of the Bears playoff appearances have come in back to back years, 1989–1990 and 2020–2021. Their all time record is 1–4.[13]

Season Coach Playoff Opponent Result
1989 Jesse Branch First Round
Stephen F. Austin
W, 38–35
L, 25–55
1990 First Round Idaho L, 35–41
2020 Bobby Petrino First Round North Dakota L, 10–44
2021 First Round UT Martin L, 31–32

Bowl games

Missouri State has appeared in four bowl games and are 0–4 all time.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1948 Tommy O'Boyle Missouri-Kansas Bowl Emporia State L, 20–34
1963 Orville Pottenger Mineral Water Bowl Northern Illinois L, 14–21
1966 Jim Mentis Adams State L, 8–14
1989 Jesse Branch Pecan Bowl Stephen F. Austin L, 25–55

Note: The 1989 Pecan Bowl was the Midwest Regional Championship (NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs Quarterfinal).


Record vs. MIAA teams


Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage First meeting Last meeting
Central Missouri 33 42 5 .444 1912 1984
Lincoln 10 5 0 .667 1970 2017
Missouri S&T 27 29 3 .483 1935 1980
Northwest Missouri 32 22 4 .586 1912 1980
Southeast Missouri 46 28 0 .622 1912 2008
Truman State 21 33 7 .402 1912 1985
Totals 196 159 12 .550

Record vs. former MVFC teams

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage First meeting Last meeting
Eastern Illinois 5 13 1 .289 1985 1995
Western Kentucky 2 8 0 .200 2001 2006
Totals 7 21 1 .259

Record vs. current MVFC teams

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage First meeting
Illinois State 18 22 1 .451 1985
Indiana State 22 14 0 .611 1986
North Dakota 2 3 0 .400 2017†
North Dakota State 2 13 0 .133 2008
Northern Iowa 7 36 0 .163 1985
South Dakota 4 5 0 .444 2012
South Dakota State 1 12 0 .077 2008
Southern Illinois 22 23 0 .489 1985
Western Illinois 20 18 1 .526 1985
Youngstown State 7 16 0 .304 1997
Totals 105 162 2 .394

†note: North Dakota joined the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020. The Bears played them twice in non-conference and once in the FCS Playoffs.

Notable players

Current NFL players

Player Position 1st Year Draft round Teams
Dylan Cole MLB 2017 Undrafted Tennessee Titans Chicago Bears
Eric Johnson DE 2022 5 Indianapolis Colts

Former NFL players

Player Position 1st Year Draft round Teams
Charlie Mitchell C 1945 28 Chicago Bears
Henry May T 1951 17 Chicago Cardinals
Bob Dees T 1952 18 Los Angeles Rams
Paul Mullins T 1953 New York Giants
Ben Koeneman C 1957 San Francisco 49ers
Bill Kaczmarek T 1958 25 San Francisco 49ers
Glenn Sowder T 1961 Denver Broncos
Rich Johanningmeier T 1964 Houston Oilers
Pat Talburt DT 1966 16 Kansas City Chiefs
Sam McDowell T 1968 9 Miami Dolphins
Tom Mullen T 1974 2 New York Giants
Tom McIntyre FB 1974 Houston Oilers
Fred Tabron RB 1974 7 Minnesota Vikings
Bob Grana TE 1975 St. Louis Cardinals
Dennis Heim DT 1978 11 New York Giants
Mike Murphy LB 1979 6 Houston Oilers
Tim Ries DB 1979 7 Houston Oilers
Jan Stahle K 1979 Houston Oilers
Chris Sella LB 1979 New Orleans Saints
John Finders FB 1983 Dallas Cowboys
Darrin Newbold LB 1983 7 New York Jets
Mike Armentrout DB 1985 9 Kansas City Chiefs
Rick Fulton DT 1985 New York Giants
Keith Williams RB 1986 6 Atlanta Falcons
Brad Sellenrick T 1986 Green Bay Packers
Steve Ache LB 1987 Minnesota Vikings
Matt Soraghan LB 1988 Green Bay Packers
Jason Whittle G 1998 New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills
Brad St. Louis Long snapper 2000 7 Cincinnati Bengals
Clay Harbor TE 2010 4 Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Team 9 (XFL)
David Arkin G 2011 4 Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams / Los Angeles Rams

Future opponents

Announced schedules as of June, 2024[14]

Week 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2032 2033
Week 1 at Montana at Arkansas (FBS) at Kansas State (FBS) at Kansas (FBS) at Texas Tech (FBS) at Missouri (FBS) at Tulsa (FBS) at Missouri (FBS)
Week 2 at Ball State (FBS) at Lindenwood at Eastern Washington Eastern Washington at Northern Arizona at Tulsa (FBS)
Week 3 Lindenwood Northern Arizona Montana at Stephen F. Austin Stephen F. Austin
Week 4 at UT Martin UT Martin at Murray State*
Week 5 Youngstown State* at Southern Illinois* North Dakota*
Week 6 Illinois State* at Illinois State*
Week 7 at Illinois State* Northern Iowa*
Week 8 Indiana State*† at Indiana State* Indiana State*
Week 9 at Northern Iowa* at North Dakota State*
Week 10 Southern Illinois* North Dakota State* Southern Illinois*
Week 11 at Murray State* at South Dakota* South Dakota*
Week 12 at North Dakota State* Murray State* at Northern Iowa*
Week 13 South Dakota State* at North Dakota*

Note: † Homecoming, # Thursday night game, * Conference match-up


  1. ^ "Robert W. Plaster Stadium". Missouri State.
  2. ^ a b c "Media Guide" (PDF). s3.amazonaws.com. 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  3. ^ "2015 Missouri State Football Guide". Issuu.
  4. ^ "Colors - Identity Standards - Missouri State University". February 5, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Lyndal Scranton, Missouri State to join Conference USA for chance to ‘play at the highest level in all sports’, Springfield Daily Citizen, May 10, 2024.
  6. ^ "Beard to be Introduced as New MSU Football Coach". Missouri State.
  7. ^ "Missouri State wants to build an indoor football facility".
  8. ^ "MSU multipurpose indoor facility needs more funding".
  9. ^ "Here's a look at the Missouri State football facility the university hopes to build".
  10. ^ Missouri State football roster (retrieved 21 Nov 2022)
  11. ^ a b c d e "2017 Media Guide (PDF) - p. 147" (PDF). Missouri State.
  12. ^ "Missouri State Bears Year by Year Summary". Missouri State Bears. 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  13. ^ "FCSb Champ" (PDF). fs.ncaa.org. 2012. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  14. ^ "Future Missouri State Football Schedules". FBSchedules.com.